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SCN Hall of Fame 2022: Sarah Joyce

Sarah Joyce AVIXA
(Image credit: Future)

The Pro AV industry is loaded with talented people, and at SCN, we're proud to celebrate the achievements of the newest members of our Hall of Fame. 

As chief global officer for AVIXA, Sarah Joyce oversees the expositions produced outside of the United States, including Integrated Systems Europe (scheduled for early February in Barcelona) and InfoComm events in China, India, and Southeast Asia. She joined the organization in May 2019 and considers herself extremely fortunate that she had a full year of shows under her belt before COVID-19 turned the live event world upside-down.

The show must go on, of course, so she AVIXA quickly pivoted to online virtual events for more than a year, delivering webinars, certification training, and more. The virtual events also had unintended consequences, attracting participants from all over the world, not just the targeted regions. Joyce is excited to watch the AV industry’s continued response to virtual and hybrid working environments, which she feels are almost revolutionary in the way they can break down barriers of communication.

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“I am passionate about how we ensure diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in our industry, and how do we ensure the equitable experience we’ve all had working in this way, because we’ve all gained something profound,” Joyce said. “It’s an inclusive experience for people to be able to effectively and efficiently contribute from anywhere. What our world and what this technology has done has opened up opportunities for people in ways that never before would have been imagined. And the AV industry empowers those opportunities.”

Hall of Fame 2022

Meet all of this year's members. (Image credit: Future)

Joyce’s adventures in pro AV began with her work with Noel Edmonds, who is known for hosting a series of Saturday night entertainment shows and other programming for the BBC. When he read about an emerging technology, videoconferencing, he asked Joyce to research it—and the Video Meeting Company was formed. She later helped Edmonds establish a nonprofit organization to promote the benefits of videoconferencing to businesses and government agencies. “He recognized that this was going to have a huge influence on how people worked,” she recalled.

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Her next stop was Electrosonic as a product marketing manager. Working in their Products division, subsequently sold to Extron, she excelled at customer-focused product development, talking with users to see how they used products, and learning how they could increase usage throughout their organizations.

Joyce’s ability to build strong relationships with customers and engineers helped her influence product design. “I would never call myself a technologist,” she admitted, “but I’m the one who could communicate the benefits. What I’m passionate about is how technology is used, not just what makes it work.”

Eventually, Joyce moved to DRV, a UK-based systems integrator that was looking to grow by acquiring other companies. The acquisitions never happened, but Joyce was moved from cultural integration leader to sales director. As a feisty competitor of Electrosonic's, DRV became an attractive acquisition target for Electrosonic. Joyce began a 12-year residency that started with responsibility for the integration of the two businesses, and ultimately led to her position as managing director, EMEA (as well as two years on the InfoComm board from 2013 to 2015).

[SCN Hall of Fame 2022: Steve Ellison] 

Her leadership led to big cultural changes in the organization. Joyce said she is probably most proud of the cultural change she developed within the company, a positive shift that established and ensured “long-term, sticky relationships with large corporate clients.” Those efforts helped Electrosonic EMEA to expand its client base into the Hong Kong, Singapore, the Middle East, and the United States. “The work we did with those clients meant we were a trusted partner that was able to take on global contracts,” she noted.

With more than 25 years in the industry, Joyce remains a proud proponent of pro AV. “I love the creativity, the innovation, and the people,” said Joyce. “I have made lifelong friends. There is something about the people who are attracted to our world in that they’re full of heart. I couldn’t imagine wanting to work in any other industry.”

In her current position, Joyce also leads AVIXA’s global membership efforts, and remains focused on technology use, anticipating trends and helping manufacturers respond to the needs of their customers. Plus, she still enjoys seeing a finished AV install that creates an experience that can blow your mind. “I love the science and magic of our industry,” she said. “It brings people together and enables swift business communication. That’s endlessly inspiring.”

Mark J. Pescatore

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News.